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 Post subject: RJ's ice cream ride
PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 2:17 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2005 12:21 pm
Posts: 437
Location: Gododdin
(Done on my own, because I wasn't sure I could do the first bit ...).

For a while, I've hankered after the Tour of East Lothian as a just-about-doable challenge for an overweight, Edinburgh-based commuter, with a single, multipurpose bike to use. Taking advantage of a rare free weekend, I set out one July Sunday to do a ride that at least took in the main hill of the February event, Redstone Rigg, in the Lammermuir Hills above Gifford.

Sunday morning traffic was light. Fifteen minutes and one white-van-moment saw me passing Musselburgh old town hall, the official ToEL start, at 10.30. An hour (and another van moment) later, I tripped the speed camera sign ("28mph thank you!") downhill into Gifford and stopped to buy bananas. No bananaguard? Helmet - yes? No problem.

The Goblin Ha' was open, but my time in the islands taught me not to drink and ride up hills. Well, steep ones anyway - and I was expecting steepness. And steep it was. Including very steep little down-the-way bits immediately followed by even steeper up-the-way bits. The down-the-way bits were too short to render "unrelenting" an inaccurate description. The steepest bit was near the top (not the very top, because there were several false summits), which proved just too much for my 22" bottom gear and 10-flattish-miles-a-day legs. I pushed the bike to the top of the last false summit and ate (banana, flapjack and cheese sandwich, since you ask) and admired the view to the north: Traprain and North Berwick Laws almost lined up in front of the Firth of Forth, the Bass Rock and Fife beyond, liberally sprinkled with heavy showers. For the time being, I was in a righteous bubble of dry sunshine.

Back on the bike, I made the top of the hill just about in audax slow group time, but my legs were complaining. A whooping, martlehatless, 40mph swoop to the Whiteadder reservoir was too short to recover before turning left, half into the wind for a sharply undulating, potholed section back to the watershed and a tooth-rattling descent into Garvald.

I'd arranged to call on a friend near Haddington and as it was now half past one, I decided to abandon the ToEL route, forgoing the pleasures of Dunbar, and weave a flat course to a cup of tea and a biscuit. The weather looked damp to the west, but summy to the east. Edinburgh was into a fresh headwind. In the other direction was North Berwick, a railway station and Ice Cream. A "no brainer", m'lud. An hour and a bit of wind-assisted flat cycling saw me on the station platform, ticket and ice cream in hand.

I got off the train at Musselburgh, from where some dodgy Sustrans signage meant sure I clocked up a metric century - my first for nearly two years - on the way back past the Commonwealth Pool to home.

Postscript: this could be done as a group ride from the Commmie Pool - 65 miles as ridden, just over 55 one way to North Berwick. Trains on that line generally have dedicated bike space designed for 6-8 bikes (could maybe take more at a pinch)

There's always a song about that ...

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